I've been catching up on my blog reading and a couple entries on Bad Astronomy bear passing on.
The first one, highlights a talk given by Brian Cox on the importance of science funding and why exploring the universe around us is important. There's a 17 minute video that's well worth the time spent.
Like the good Dr. Plait, the first thing I do when I walk outside is look up, and far too few people do that, I think. Sure, I might look up and not see much of anything. Indeed, from my home in the center of the city, I barely see enough stars to make out the basic shapes of the constellations. But, it's the fact that you never know what you might see when I look up that keeps me doing just that.
Maybe there will be a brief flash of a meteor lighting up the Earth's atmosphere, or an out-of-place moving star revealing a satellite or the International Space Station going about its dizzying whirl around the planet. Maybe someday I'll look up and see a star that seems to have appeared overnight, signaling the catastrophic death of a distant solar system's home sun.
The point is, that one never knows what might be seen on that casual glance upward. Even if there is nothing special happening, just looking up to marvel at the beauty of the night sky should be enough.